By Nokuthula Manyathi and Shandukani Mulaudzi
Media women on the move, Zamantungwa Khumalo and Tumelo Mothotoane met up with Wits Vuvuzela to discuss the challenges they face and lessons they have learnt as students in the working world.
There is no such thing as balance
Khumalo, 3rd year International Relations and Politics, is a producer on new talk radio station Power FM. Mothotoane is the anchor for SABC 1’s Sunday Live current affairs television show.
“There is no such thing as balance. Balance is a lie. You do what you can at the moment,” said a passionate Khumalo. The two under 25s are juggling their Wits studies and their media careers.
Mothotoane and Khumalo said they built their careers from community stations and platforms even though community media is frequently regarded as inferior to better known commercial media.
Mothotoane, 3rd year Media Studies and Psychology, started as a presenter on Soweto TV and was there for three years having worked on a show called SISTAS.
I work really hard, sometimes I feel like I’m 92-years old
Khumalo said her roots in radio were at VoW FM where she worked for about two years, anchoring a current affairs show in her final year with the station.
Khumalo said a great advantage of working at these community stations was being able to learn many skills at once. Mothotoane said she had made many sacrifices in order to achieve what she has at such a young age.
As a result she has had to mature more rapidly compared to some of her peers.
“I work really hard, sometimes I feel like I’m 92-years old and not 22,” said Mothotoane. Khumalo echoed these sentiments.
I don’t have much of a social life
“I don’t have much of a social life. If I’m not at school then I’m at work,” said a bubbly Khumalo.
Khumalo said she often felt overwhelmed by the thought that two decades ago the opportunities she and Mothotoane had received would not have been available to a young black woman.
“It’s amazing that we are able to have these opportunities,” said Khumalo.
Being in the media can also come with pressure from the industry to behave in a certain manner that could lead these young women to lose themselves.
However, Khumalo and Mothotoane said they had not fallen into this trap.
Mothotoane said she was able to remain humble because of her upbringing.
“I am a good example of the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. People have always been there whether it be family members or friends to help me along this journey.”
Mothotoane said the influence of so many people in her life acts as her “humility checkers”.
“I never forget where I come from,” said Mothotoane.
The two agreed that young people are often intimidated when they step into the working world.
Khumalo said she realised that in order to be taken seriously in the work place, you have to be more assertive.
“Knowing how to stand your ground is important. Being able to say: yes, you may be twice my age but you are still wrong,” said Khumalo.
Both Khumalo and Mothotoane said university does not prepare students enough for the working environment.
Things like taxes, negotiating your salary and general office behaviour are things they said they learnt on the job. Mothotoane nodded in agreement and added that students needed to pay more attention to social media etiquette.
“Students don’t realise that prospective employers actually go through your social media profiles to see what you’re about and to see what kind of person they are hiring,” said Mothotoane.
Khumalo added: “If you would not say it to your boss, don’t put it on social media.”